Signs appear to be pointing to a dinner plate graphic as a strong candidate to replace the food pyramid as America’s graphic icon to encourage healthy eating.
According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture notice to media on May 26, the food pyramid is being ditched and a new food icon will be unveiled June 2 in Washington, D.C.
According to the press announcement, the food icon will replace the MyPyramid image as the government’s primary food group symbol.
“It will be an easy-to-understand visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” according to the announcement.
The icon will be part of a comprehensive nutrition initiative that aims to provide consumers with diet recommendations, and it includes a new website and other resources.
Perhaps tipping their hand, the USDA — with the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines in January — issued a handful of consumer tips about healthy eating. One of those tips was to “make half your plate fruits and vegetables.”
One highly placed industry source indicated earlier in the year that there were rumors the plate graphic would be the new icon. No industry sources would confirm that in late May, however.
Elizabeth Pivonka, president of the Hockessin, Del.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation, said May 26 she knows what the new food icon is but was asked not to reveal it.
Likewise, Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, said in an e-mail she has seen the graphic but has been asked not to talk about until after June 2. DiSogra said earlier this year that United Fresh has been advocating for use of the “half your plate” message for six years.
Pivonka did say that PBH is talking with the industry about sponsorship opportunities for a just-revealed consumer message project reinforcing the Dietary Guidelines advice to “fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables." The “half your plate” theme is one of the core messages of the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters campaign, she said.
Pivonka said surveys have shown that consumers like “half your plate” better than messages about servings or cups. Consumers may think the advice to fill “half your plate with fruits and vegetables” is a little daunting to accomplish, she said, and some consumers surveyed have said they have a difficult time translating “half your plate” to cereal bowls, lunchboxes, snacks, eating in the car or mixed dishes.